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Surgical removal of a breast, usually because of breast cancer. If the cancer has spread, radical mastectomy may remove surrounding tissue and/or nearby structures, including chest muscles and lymph nodes. Modified radical mastectomy leaves at least the main chest muscle, has an equally high survival rate, and makes reconstruction easier. Simple mastectomy is removal of the breast only. Lumpectomy is removal of the tumour only.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on mastectomy, visit Britannica.com.